Saturday, November 11, 2006

Practical Tips for Obedience and Change- Part II

This morning I had the pleasure of sitting under the teaching of Dr. John Piper as he conducted a seminar on "Christian Hedonism." (Yes...sounds like an oxymoron, but it's not!) The purpose here isn't to describe or defend Christian Hedonism. If you would like more information on it, go to Desiring God and put it in the search box. You will have more information than you can possibly digest! While you are there, purchase a copy of Desiring God for a more thorough treatment of the subject...AND a life-changing view of our Lord and Savior!

I took away from his seminar several items that relate to obedience and Christ's Lordship. First and foremost is that Christ IS Lord, but that for the believer, it is not a thing of duty and burden. In fact, if you are acting out of simple duty, you probably don't really know Christ! Instead, our actions...including the keeping of God's commands...are to be motivated by joy! We are actually commanded to have joy! I won't go into the theological defense of how God can command an emotion...go to the website for that. So bottom line... obedience to the commands of God is a joyful thing! But Pastor Piper also said that it is a continual must fight for joy, probably on a daily basis...or even more often! And he gave some strategies that are applicable (there are more, probably available on the website or through some of the other books he's written).

1. Meditate on Scripture day and night. That means reading it, memorizing it, and musing upon it.

2. Pray. Pray for joy. Pray for what you are learning in your meditations on Scripture.

3. Preach to yourself instead of listening to yourself! I highlight this because it struck me as important, yet immensely practical, simply because it is something we don't do! We wake up in the morning and listen to ourselves grumble. We listen to ourselves all day long, and if we were to actually pay attention, we would be amazed at how often what we are telling ourselves is negative and joy-killing. Quit doing that! Instead, preach to yourself sermons based on the Scripture you are reading and meditating upon. Preach about God's goodness and glory. Preach about His promises. Preach about His expectations of you in your sanctification. Train yourself to listen only when you are preaching and not when you are grumbling.

Becoming more like Christ isn't a burdensome work of drudgery. Make no mistake; it IS work and it DOES require change. But it is a joyful thing to become more like our Lord! Let's make the most of every day in doing so!

Toward more joy and more Christlikeness!!!

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